Alarming Increase In College Graduates Who Can’t Find Employment

April 22, 2012
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The Associated Press reported that the numbers of jobless or underemployed college grads are at the highest level in at least 11 years.

According to the analysis, the weak labor market is largely responsible.

Only 3 out of 30 occupations with the most openings by 2020 will require a college degree – teachers, college professors, and accountants. Most openings were in service areas such as sales and truck driving. This is a disturbing trend for the United States if accurate.

It might point to a dumbing down of middle America into two classes of people – those who are elite and those who are not.

There are a number of reasons why college grads are not finding jobs besides the poor job market. Many colleges continue to push majors that have poor job prospects even in a good economy. Some colleges mimic drug pushers except the drugs they are rushing are school loans which keep them from having to cut costs and which bury students in debt.

According to the AP analysis, “graduates who majored in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and humanities were some who were unsuccessful in finding jobs appropriate to their educational level. Nurses, teachers, accountants and computer scientists were most likely to find appropriate jobs.” Wow, who could have seen that one coming. Read here: Occupy a college and Online University Paying for Football Bowl With Student Money

The analysis indicates that 95% of the jobs lost were in middle-income jobs. The government projects they are the least likely jobs to return in a high-tech age. That does seem to say that colleges need to tighten standards and toughen up their courses of study.

Certainly middle-level jobs won’t come back under the current policies which are focused on thousand page bills that do nothing for jobs and wasteful spending, but that’s only my take.

The situation is uneven throughout the country, according to the report, with the South including Texas tending to employ college students in higher skilled jobs. I have to mention here that Texas has a very friendly business climate.

Associated Press:…The figures are based on an analysis of 2011 Current Population Survey data by Northeastern University researchers and supplemented with material from Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. They rely on Labor Department assessments of the level of education required to do the job in 900-plus U.S. occupations, which were used to calculate the shares of young adults with bachelor’s degrees who were “underemployed.”

About 1.5 million, or 53.6%, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41%, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year…Read more…

The edge that college graduates had seems to be dwindling and is moving closer to youth unemployment in general if this AP report is accurate.

Zerohedge reported recently that European youth unemployment (18 -24) ranged from 46% in Greece to 51% in Spain. In the U.S. youth unemployment is 46% – the same as Greece. It is the worst in 64 years and 7% worse than when Obama took office. The figures are highest among minority youths. The zerohedge figures differ from this study but the trend holds true.

It is important to note that the Bureau of Labor Statistics does NOT count youth ages 16 -24 in their unemployment figures. That 8.2% figure we keep hearing about leaves most college graduates out.

Last October, Gallup reported that 7 in 10 college graduates were employed in some job. Ten percent worked part time and wanted it that way. Gallup polls differently from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and it would be difficult to compare or determine if the situation has worsened significantly since October or perhaps the situation isn’t as serious as the AP analysis indicates.

One career advisor is critical of college internships as a means of teaching students how to think  -

Fox News:…Our higher education system was conceived as a vehicle to teach students how to think, not to prepare for a career per se. And not surprisingly, those who pursue majors associated with a specific career track have had less trouble finding a job in their field.

In May 2011 the New York Times reported, “Young graduates who majored in education and teaching or engineering were most likely to find a job requiring a college degree, while area studies majors — those who majored in Latin American studies, for example — and humanities majors were least likely to do so.”

But there’s a much deeper, more insidious issue that gets to the heart of why certain grads find good jobs out of school and others fail to do so. It’s because, while students may have been taught how to think, they are frequently missing the skills that make them good employees…

Students have to consider the job market when picking a major more than ever before. If a major is useless in today’s job market,  a graduate won’t get a job simply by virtue of having spent an extra four years behind a school desk. The job market today is exceptionally weak, however, and even courses of study that were solid three years ago, no longer are. Students do need to follow their heart in the end and a college education in something that one does not enjoy is hardly worth any amount of money.

Statistics can be misleading but the unemployment among our youth is alarming and the safeguard that college used to provide is not always there. That is in some part due to the way colleges are preparing students, the quality of college programs, and, mostly, it’s the poor economy. The halcyon days of choosing an easy major, sleeping through class, and getting a job are over.

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